Wednesday, May 8, 2013

THE THINGS THEY DON'T KNOW YOU KEPT



My dad is a good artist, he even thought about pursuing it as a career but decided on the path he thought would provide him more stability - economically speaking. When we were kids we would sometimes ask him to draw us. We'd sit still and watch his face - he'd glance down at the paper, then back at us; back and forth he'd go between us and the paper and with quick, short strokes, he'd manage to capture us perfectly in black and white. We were truly amazed by it. Mum and dad are both from Scotland originally but before they came to Australia they were living in a place called York, in England. While he was there, he'd done a couple of sketches of the city, sketches he would have completely forgotten existed if he hadn't have been reminded. 

My dad and mum left Scotland decades ago. Dad had lost contact with most of his family. There was hurt between him and his parents but in recent years he and his dad were in the process of making their peace. They hadn't seen each other in a long, long time.

One time, my dad was on the phone to his dad and mentioned that he wouldn't mind seeing Celtic play. In the way you might say you wouldn't mind seeing Europe one day, or wouldn't mind trying out pilates. It was just a comment, something he'd have forgotten about even saying. A while later, his father called him to say he had managed to get three tickets to a big Celtic match that was coming up. To get them, he would have lined up for hours in the bitter cold. An old man trying to get tickets for his son and grandson who lived thousands of miles away, without even confirmation they would come.

My dad and my brother booked their flights as soon as Grandpa told them he had the tickets. My dad was truly touched. He was looking forward to seeing his father and was thinking of all the things he wanted to say to him that he hadn't said, the conversations they would finally have. Saving them all up for when he got there. 

And then the phone call came. It was only days before my dad and his dad were due to see each other again after so many years, that my grandfather passed away. So my father and two of my brothers travelled all the way to Scotland not to say hello again, but to say goodbye.

While they were there, my dad saw his sister. She had two sketches of York my father had drawn put into frames to be given to me and my sister as engagement presents. My dad said he wouldn't have even remembered those sketches and even if he had, he probably would have thought they had ended up in the bin. Yet Angela had kept them. And now I have one and my sister has one: pictures that are older than each of us. I love the fact that I have them. I love the story behind it - that they meant something to my auntie and she kept them. My dad didn't know they had any meaning to anyone until years later. 

When I was a young girl, I took a picture of a boy I liked. He was holding a rose between his teeth for a laugh. He would never know it, still doesn't know it, but I kept that photo for years and years. And then there's this picture a girl in high school once drew of me. She didn't like me all that much and had drawn this cartoon person who was meant to look weird and crazy. The caption read: "high off hairspray". She wouldn't imagine I still have it after all this time. I don't know why I kept it at the time, but now I just can't bear to part with it... I guess it's a reminder of my teenage years - all the angst and pure bliss of it.

Are there things you keep, sentimental things, that no-one knows you have? Have you ever thought about the fact that someone could be keeping something that reminded them of you? 



3 comments:

  1. Beautiful post! Truly touching. So sad your Dad never got to say all the things he wanted too.
    I, too have a box of things from my past that I can't bear to part with...It's a mash up of pleasure and pain all in a shoebox. Make sure you cherish every moment.

    Claudia P

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  2. Oh my Gosh Anna you are such a beautfiful writer. The story between your father and grandfather is truly heartbreaking, life is so cruel sometimes. I know they say we're supposed to learn from the things that test us but sometimes they just seem so unfair.
    Anyway then I got to thinking of all the setimental things I'd kept along the way, without even thinking about it, love letters from a first love, things from my childhood it's amazing how you can totally forget about them but then if you stumble upon them one day they bring back a thousand memories

    Rebecca xx

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  3. what a beautiful and sad story

    Thankfifi
    thanks so much for your sweet comment on my post.x

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